“You can’t care about everything.”
There are three mothers with babies under my roof the evening the e-mail arrives.
My husband is hours down the dirt road sending stove-building materials across a make-shift zip line to the homes of the people we serve.
The need is urgent says the friend who lives in the war-torn land and loves hearts to wholeness there.
The children need to go to summer school. They need the safety of school. They need the peace of routine.
“We have promised to help,” he writes. “But our helpers have come up short. We made a promise to the church. We need you.”
And I can’t say “no.”
I can’t say it because the Body is the Body and it is one thing with many moving parts and they are all connected.
So perhaps I am the tip of the toe dipping into the cool cloud-forest waters and perhaps he is the finger tracing hope into the desert sand, but do we not move together?
Are we not connected? Is that not what it means to be the church?
And if he is short on life, can I not pump a little blood in his direction right through our shared heart that believes that love can remake the world?
No. I cannot say “no” to the need in Iraq, to the 100 children displaced by ISIS who deserve a place beneath the shadow of our steeple if we truly believe what we profess to believe.
I say “yes” because I believe in the economy of gospel generosity.
I say “yes” because I believe our love for the poor and the forgotten and the oppressed should stretch us thin and make us feel small and wholly inadequate.
I say “yes” because I believe God shows up most powerfully in our weaknesses.
I say “yes” because I believe God can be for the mother whose back I rub while pain stretches her to give life here in the mountains of Costa Rica and also be for the 100 children running from ISIS with their families who need classrooms and desks to bring balance back to their world that has been ripped apart in Iraq.
I say “yes” because I believe God can be for me here and for my friends there.
I say “yes” because I believe in His power and I believe in you.
And I pray with trembling lips that you will believe with me for these 100 children and the church that wants to serve them.
I pray you will be the veins that bring life to the hands that do the hard work of loving in a place where war and hate have ruled for too long.
I pray that as you see their faces and read our pleas you will remember that little blue thumbs up are comfortable and easy because they cost nothing.
I pray that you remember that the Body is called to a love that costs–to a bloody, sweaty love that redeems loss and resurrects hope.
To a love that lets go of its barista brew or pretty plated restaurant meal or extra ice-cream tub so a child can learn in peace and learn peace.
I pray that you’ll know that telling their story is not the least you can do because our silence equals our consent and the Word is a thing that speaks.
And I pray, oh how I pray, that somehow, as you remember and you speak and you offer love with a cost, that by some mysterious miracle of grace, the Body will start to move, all its parts one swift reaching for the 100 parts of us in Iraq who need 2 classrooms and 50 desks and 3 blackboards–for the 100 beats of our collective heart who simply need us to bleed a bit of life into their weary bones.
These are the faces of your heart beating in Iraq. Will you be the hand that reaches for them? Will you say “yes” to them with me?
Our non-profit, St. Bryce Missions, is teaming with our friends at Preemptive Love Coalition to help add on to Our Lady Mary school in Kirkuk, Iraq in order to provide space for 100 children whose families have been displaces by ISIS to attend school and learn and play in safety and peace. You can sponsor one double desk for $110. That would be you giving $10 and inviting ten friends to do the same. Would you share the challenge, rally your tribe, and say “yes” to Iraq with us?
Copyright 2015 Colleen Mitchell.
Images courtesy of Preemptive Love Coalition. All rights reserved.